Monday, April 4, 2011

Martini Week: It’s Ba-ack

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Today in History:
April 4, 1561 -
Over Nuremberg, Germany, a battle in the sky transpires between black and blood-red balls, disks, and crosses on this date.

It is never made clear who prevailed in this UFO incident.

April 4, 1841 -
William Henry Harrison was an American military leader, politician, and the ninth President of the United States. He took the oath of office on March 4, 1841, an extremely cold and windy day. People told him, "Think what your mother would say - Take a coat, it's cold." Nevertheless, he faced the weather without his overcoat and delivered the longest inaugural address in American history. At 8,445 words, it took nearly two hours to read. He then rode through the streets in the inaugural parade, and later caught a cold, which then developed into pneumonia and pleurisy. People still told him, " Think what your mother would say - Have a liedown. Have some nice chicken soup."

He sought to rest in the White House, but could not find a quiet room, as he was deluged with people seeking his favor in the hope that he would appoint them to the numerous offices the president then had at his disposal. In addition, his position and new arrival in Washington obligated Harrison to keep an extremely busy social schedule, making any rest time scarce.

His doctors tried everything to cure him, applying opium enemas, castor oil, Virginia snakeweed, and even actual snakes (don't ask what they did with the snakes.) But the treatments only made Harrison worse and he went into delirium. He died a month later, at 12:30 a.m., on April 4, 1841, of right lower lobe pneumonia, jaundice, and overwhelming septicemia, becoming the first American president to die in office. His last words were "Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more." Harrison served the shortest term of any American president: only 30 days, 11 hours and 30 minutes.

A curious fact, Harrison's name backward is No Sirrah. When Harrison took office in 1841 at the age of 68, he was the oldest man to become President; a record that stood for 140 years, until Ronald Reagan became President in 1981 at the age of 69.

Remember, your mother is always right.

April 4, 1933 -
USS Akron (ZRS-4) the accident-prone helium-filled rigid airship of the United States Navy was lost in a weather-related accident off the New Jersey coast, killing 73 of the 76 crew and passengers on board.

The Akron's loss spelled the beginning of the end for the rigid airship in the US Navy, especially since one of its leading proponents, Rear Admiral Moffett, was killed with 72 other men.

April 4, 1958 -
Lana Turner's 14 year old daughter Cheryl Crane, apparently stabs her mother's abusive mobster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato (it has always been alleged that Lana was the actual killer and that Cheryl, who faced minimal judicial punishment under the circumstances, took the rap for her). A coroner's jury finds she committed justifiable homicide.

Allegedly, while filming the movie, Another Time, Another Place, Lana Turner was rumored to have been having an affair with her costar, actor Sean Connery. Stompanato stormed onto the set, and during a verbal altercation with Connery, Stompanato waved a gun in Connery's face. Connery reacted by taking the gun away from him, physically beating Stompanato and sending him off the film set. After Stompanato's death, there were rumors that organized crime mobsters believed Connery had helped bring on the eventual demise of Stompanato, and Connery is alleged to have laid low for a time. There is no evidence that Connery and Turner were having an affair; this sort of behavior was apparently normal for Stompanato.

April 4, 1968 -
Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a rifleman (possibly James Earl Ray) while standing on the second-story balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He had come to Tennessee to support a strike by the city's sanitation workers.

The night before he died, he gave a speech at the Memphis Temple Church in which he said, "I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."

April 4, 1973 -
The World Trade Center in New York is officially dedicated.

And so it goes

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